Monday, February 16, 2009
The longest eleven minutes of my life
The other day, I needed to go upstairs to my friend Helen's house. I was unencumbered by kids or other stuff and I thought, 'Hey! I'll just run up the stairs! I've been meaning to get some more exercise anyway. It's only six flights...'
I started off at a light jog, and by the time I got to the fourth floor, my legs were BURNING. Seriously, it felt like badgers were gnawing on the outsides of my thighs. There are probably people who LIKE badgers gnawing on their thighs, but I am not one of them. I hope no ki.nky weirdos find my blog! Besides the ones that are already here, I mean.
By the time I got to six, I was panting and stumbling. When I escaped the stairwell on Helen's floor, I staggered down the hallway to her door, occasionally careening into the wall and clutching my chest.
The entire episode was disturbing on multiple levels and I spent several days thinking about it. I came to the conclusion that this appalling lack of fitness will not do at all. I woke up this morning with a determination borne of badger-chewed thighs. Also with a really sore throat, but one of my many character flaws is a total and utter lack of patience. Today was the day; there would be no waiting.
You may recall my recent 'Click or Climb' post, where I describe how Linda is going to climb 69 flights of stairs next month to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After I posted that, I heard from a friend who is also doing the climb. That, combined with the bitter cold and freezing wind and the boring agony of the gym, convinced me that climbing stairs would be the perfect exercise. I, too, could do 69 flights by March 22nd. What could go wrong? There's thirteen indoor flights right off the hallway outside my front door. All I have to do is put my shoes on and go!
I decided that running the stairs twice would be a good way to start: twenty-six flights. It wouldn't be quite the same as twenty-six continuous flights, of course, because I would have to stop in the middle and come down in order to start over for the second thirteen flights.
I did it. Well, I did it if you take out the 'running' part. That was a little pretentious. It took eleven minutes. The longest eleven minutes of my life. The worst part was the final descent, completed entirely on quivering bags of badger-bitten jelly. I'll end with two notes:
Linda and Brandy, I sincerely hope you can take the elevator down. Oh, and take a stick to beat off the badgers. Secondly, pass the zinfandel and make it snappy. I hear it's great for sore throats. And badger bites.